Tikolo is Mahatma Gandhi of Kenyan cricket

Kolkata: Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande on Saturday astonished everyone when he compared veteran allrounder Steve Tikolo with Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.

Kamande insisted that just like Mahatma Gandhi led the Indian freedom struggle, Tikolo brought Kenyan cricket into world map in the 1996 edition of the World Cup.

"We call him Gandhi. He is a legend. He is the man who actually made us play One-day International cricket. He is the one who made us qualify for the first time in 1996 World Cup," explained Kamande, drawing parallels with Mahatma Gandhi.

"I remember watching him play in the qualifiers in 1995.

We owe a lot to the guy. Hopefully, we will send him off with a win," he added.

Kenya have lost all the five games in this World Cup so far.

Nearing 40, the inspirational batsman will bid adieu to the international cricket when he turns up against Zimbabwe in their group A concluding match at the Eden Gardens tomorrow in his fifth World Cup appearance and the team wants to clinch a victory for him as a perfect farewell gift.

Tikolo represented Kenya in 133 ODIs, more than half of those as captain and was a part of a successful era in Kenyan cricket that saw them beat the West Indies in 1996 with the Caribbean side boasting of players like Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh.

Tikolo was a part of the team when Kenya beat India in 1998 and 2001.

He led his side to victories over Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Canada to make it to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup.

Unfortunately, eight years after they made the World Cup semifinals, there is still no first-class structure in Kenya, only a one-day club competition.